View Full Version : That BA in Math was FINALLY put to use!

07-14-2006, 08:29 PM
I joined the PSU bike coop today, and worked on my Schwinn Traveller (with help). Changed 4 cables (both brake and gear), a few cable housings, repacked the headset, it was loose, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to open her up, anyway, instead of just tightening it. Replaced a tube. Total cost $16 ($10 coop annual fee, $6 parts).

At about 6PM, I stopped to get my other bike(worn out Schwinn LeTour) from the shop. I had dropped it off Wednesday, for a single brake cable housing that I had intended to duct tape together for my ride to Wednesday night sailing. BF said he'd replace it for me. Then at the bike shop he admitted he'd never done it before:rolleyes: Wed, I was told there were two bikes ahead of me. It wasn't done today. The guy was puzzled,"But we didn't promise it till Saturday...." That would have cost $13 by itself. I was willing to pay the $13 in order to get my bike fixed for my Wednesday ride. But hey, now I can get the parts from PSU for $2, and save myself a four day wait.:D (Although three days of tose four have already passed:( . Why didn't I buy the parts while I was there:confused: .

Actually, it sounds like I am glad to get out of paying the mechanic. That is not exactly, true. I would be happy to pay the mechanic ONCE, if it taught me something. It is the second time that I want to avoid him. It is more a matter of independence. I hope to do foreign travel some day. I am not sure that I would want to trust my transport to the local mechanic in some little rural village in China. I hope to do some long distance cruising (sailboat), with a bike along as land transport. It would be silly to not be familiar with my bike.;)


07-15-2006, 03:16 AM
My first road bike was a Schwinn Le Tour, yellow, and I loved that bike. What color is yours? Jones

07-15-2006, 04:47 AM
That sounds like a very cool idea. How does a bike coop work? Is someone there giving you guidance as you work? Do they supply the tools? And, how do I find one of those near me??

I'd love to learn to work on my bike myself. Self-sufficiency's a blast! But I learn much better through hands-on demonstration than from text and pictures. I haven't developed the kind of relationship with any of the local wrenches yet that would make me comfortable asking for instruction, so that coop idea sounds like it would be great.

07-15-2006, 10:24 AM
Sometimes it doesn't seem that way. But we really do have a wonderful bike community. We just need to learn how to train the motorists. (or bettter yet convert them into cyclists:D ).

I understand the picture thing. Somehow, the 2D picture loses something, or maybe it is the "real time" nature of life. I cannot recognize things in pictures. I have tried to recognize plants from feild guides and I am always uncertain. But if someone points it out, live, I am fine, and get it. I am also better with drawings, because they eliminate much of the extraneous visual detail that clutters a photograph. Besides, the bicycle is never just like yours. In fact, If I had a camera, I would have taken pictures as we worked, then I could build my own individualized manual.

I discovered the coop through an ad in some biking literature. I beleive it was a brochure for an event called Pedalpalooza. It could have been a free biking magazine/newspaper. Since I was an alumna of Portland State University, I decided to check it out. I am not sure if it is really a cooperative structure (ie the members are like stockholders). It is administered by the University under the Parking Department (or some such department), so it is not a student run organization. An example of a cooperative is REI.

They have a little space (in a parking garage, how subversive!), perhaps 8 by 10 feet. I think they had 2 bike stands, two guys were there, one helped me, another seemed to be working on another woman's bike while she watched. I had thought it was to provide space and tools for people to fix their own bikes, but she didn't seem to be. I am member number 299. In the 2.5 hours I was there, one other person came by. Being a really small space, 299 seems like a lot of members, but I didn't have to wait or anything. I wonder what it is like during the schoolyear.:eek:

I know of three other non-profit organizations, who also provide this sort of help. Exchange Cycle tours has a mission to promote cultural exchange through cycling tours, and they host bike workshops on Saturdays. Mississippi Bikeworks is a small shop, I beleive that they are employee-owned, but they have a women's and transgendered clinic on Wednesday nights.


We also have a group, but I can't think of their name, and they recycle bicycles. They take in donations, and refurbish them, and give them away through their programs, or sell them to generate funds.

I beleive that I have also seen classes run by local bike shops, but they ran around $100 and up (Though I understand they need to pay the rent, and earn a profit, and pay the employees).

If I could not find these reasurces so readily, I would join a local club, such as a chapter of American Wheelman. I meet so many people who say that they don't have time for clubs, and just don't have an interest. But I always find that the best way for me to hook into a group of people specifically interested in my new interest. And the comraderie is something that keeps me engaged, when I get frustrated, or the next fancy catches my eye and I start to drift. The LOCAL knowledge is something I can't find elsewhere. And when I volunteer for the organization, I get to know "who's who."

So if I were airdropped into a new area I would:

1) Google "Bicycling CityX StateY"
2)Call or visit my local library to see if they have a database of local organizations.
3)Stop at the LBS for any free literature by local clubs, advertising rags.
4)If I saw someone on a bike similar to mine, I realize that I have met a kindred spirit, and compliment them on it. Get around to asking them what they do to fix their bike. (My personal attraction is toward funky homebrew trailers.)

I have also used this to obtain peices of plants that I admire in someone's yard. People need to share things, they need to know they have something of value to offer, and have their own values authenticated. This sounds patronizing, but it isn't. I only tell them the truth, that I admire something in their garden, or their funky trailer. (Well, asking for a plant is not like anything else. Plants want to grow, they enlist animals to aid them. A gardener is a specific type of animal, they may be concious that they are helping spread the plant, and have some choice in the matter, but the plant is also selecting them, by being attractive.)

Asking for advice is similar. Humans survive through their culture. Bicycles and the knowledge to fix them is a part of that culture. ;)

5)If this didn't work, I would ask around in my other interest groups. It seems that certain interests form constellations, due to a shared value, i.e. nature, health, sustainability.
6)Working with a partner, even if neither of you knows the answer, works. You will have different insights into something. And it is just not so frustrating, when you have someone to commiserate.

Good luck, and may the local wrenches and their Gods smile upon you,

07-15-2006, 10:34 AM
She is silver. I have had a difficult time loving her recently. I think she realized this, because she gave me a nice ride home yesterday, her brake decided to work correctly, and she was a joy to ride. ( I wonder how much of my recent riding has been against the rear brake?) The cable housing is split, and when ti doesn't line up correctly, it engages the rear brake.

Now that the Traveller is operational, I guess she worries she'll lose her rack and fenders.

So on the way home, I recalled the article I recently read about fixed gears....

07-15-2006, 06:10 PM
DH still commutes on his silver LeTour. I don't know what he'll do if (when) it finally goes off to that big bike shop in the sky.

Do the Unitarians do bike funerals?

07-15-2006, 07:56 PM
We can do anything.

Including bike funerals.

07-16-2006, 12:23 AM
Her frame is only 1020 steel. Some research told me that means plain old steel. The Traveler is CroMo. I'm not sure why the Traveller wound up in the loft. An ex-BF was trying to get me to discard some bikes. I forget how many I had, But I had paid $50.00 for the Traveller at Goodwill, so no way. I was worried that if I lost my bike, I would quickly get out of the habit of cycling. So I guess this was a compromise to keep him off my back. Funny thing was, the cleaned garage started filling up with motorcycle and VW parts:mad: . (he did'nt live here. If I am going to have clutte around, it may as well be mine.:rolleyes:
This did happen when I got a car, suddenly, I had no time to bike anywhere, or it was raining, or too inconvenient, or whatever.:o

Now I am down to the two Schwinns, and a mountain bike style bike. I found it laying on a downtown sidewalk, turned it into the police, but it went unclaimed, so I could claim it. It's probably a Huffy-type. I also have a home brew bike trailer that I pulled from a dumpster. One wheel was bent nearly in half. I'll get around to fixing it one of these days.:rolleyes:

I miss my Raleigh three speed:( She was stolen from my yard last year. I would leave her on the side of the house, behind a bush, and she couldn't be seen from the street, maybe someone saw me come home and leave it?:mad:

I was so worried about my Traveller last night. I left her at the bike shop and brought the Le Tour home, since I needed the rack, then it got dark and I got lazy. And I thought about her, being only locked with a cable, and in a business area, where there would be no pedestrian traffic. And today at a rummage sale, I locked her tire up. Those few hours of intimate fondling have forged a bond. I was afraid someone would buy her by accident from the rummage sale:eek: .


07-16-2006, 03:42 PM
How long has the PSU coop been around?? I don't think it existed when I was a student there! I would be sad to know that it did, and I didn't know about it! :(

07-16-2006, 05:29 PM
I graduated in 2001. I didn't know about it either, so I don't think it was around. But it sure is hard to learn about things on that campus! I learned about it from an ad in an event calendar. Why they would advertise in a calendar for the general public is beyond me:confused: . Maybe it wasn't something they paid for, but instead got included because they sponsored an event?

Things change so rapidly on that campus. I know that the rowing team went from brand new, to having people who competed in at a top level (well one person), same with the sailing club. But like I said it is in the department of alternative transportation, so it sounds more like part of the "facility" operation at PSU, rather than driven by student interest. Does the EPA, or DEQ require such things for a large employer?

I didn't see any dates on their webpage.